Monthly Archives: December 2021

Tangles for Christmas, 2021 edition


In the weeks before Christmas, my drawings are generally Christmas-related zentangles. This year, I started out with some Christmas trees. The first uses the patterns Emingle (a variation) and Ahh:

Emingle (var.) + Ahh
This pattern is called Star Berries, by Dawn George:
Star Berry

For the next one, I created a hybrid from three patterns I know, Nipa, Crescent Moon, and Line Dance by Alice Hendon. I’m calling this Nipa Moon Dance:

Nipa Moon Dance
I did this on the reverse side of the Emingle tree; unfortunately, you can see it peeking through.

This one uses Brr by Julie Isaac, Festoon Holiday by Joan Stark, and Holiday Ornaments by Suzanne McNeill:


Next, a couple of Christmas messages. The first one utilizes the pattern Purrlyz by Hanny Waldburger:


And this one features l’Eaura:


And finally, my favorite string in this group employs Ginili by Randi Wynne-Parry, Twistee by Livia Chua, Flux, and Luv-a by Sharon Caforio:

Ginili, Twistee, Flux, Luv-a

If you’d like to see my Christmas tangles from previous years, click the links: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017.

Monday Morning Wisdom #341

Monday Morning Wisdom #341

When it gets hard to love, love harder.

~Van Jones

From the Creator’s Heart #338

Isaiah 11:6

Handbells for Christmas, 2021 edition


One of the activities I’ve missed since the beginning of the pandemic is playing in the handbell choir in church. They started up again in September, but because of another obligation, I’ve opted out for now, though Greg and I have had the pleasure of hearing them a couple of times when we’ve attended worship in person. Here is the Desert Cross Lutheran Church Ringing Praise playing “Angels We Have Heard on High” in 2017.

I discovered a wonderful virtual handbell concert recorded last year. The program includes:

  • Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
  • O Come, O Come Immanuel (not a separate piece, but woven into a couple of arrangements)
  • Ding Dong Merrily on High
  • Angels We Have Heard on High
  • Coventry Carol
  • Sing We Now Of Christmas
  • Rocking Carol
  • The Holly and the Ivy
  • Carol of the Bells
  • Silent Night (sorry if I missed any)

And finally, I think you’ll agree that it takes careful choreography for four musicians to play the Hallelujah Chorus on handbells.

If you’re not yet all handbelled out, check out these handbell posts from 2020 and 2019.

Creative Juice #273

Creative Juice #273

I challenge you to use one of these ideas this week. (Hmmm. I think I need googly eyes.)

Video of the Week #336: Storytime


Gather the kids! Send a link to your grandchildren.

Wordless Wednesday: Prickly


What’s Your Writing Brand?

What’s Your Writing Brand?

People will tell you that in order to market your creative work, you need a brand. So, what’s a brand[1]?

  • According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is a “feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”
  • Donna Antonucci says, “Brand is a known identity of a company in terms of what product and services they offer but also the essence of what the company stands for in terms of service and other emotional, nontangible consumer concerns.”
  • Jay Baer says, “Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice-versa.”
  • Paul Biedermann says, “A brand is the essence of one’s own unique story.”
  • Lisa Buyer says, “A brand is created and influenced by people, visuals, culture, style, perception, words, messages, PR, opinions, news media and especially social media. Like when a child is born and given a name, a brand needs nurturing, support, development and continuous care in order to thrive and grow.”
  • Margie Clayman says, “Branding is the encapsulation of a company’s mission statement, objectives, and corporate soul.”
  • Heidi Cohen says, “A brand creates perceived value for consumers through its personality in a way that makes it stand out from other similar products.”
  • Gini Dietrich says, “Branding is the identity of a product or service. It’s the name, the logo, the design, or a combination of those that people use to identify, and differentiate, what they’re about to buy. A good brand should deliver a clear message, provide credibility, connect with customers emotionally, motivate the buyer, and create user loyalty.”
  • Ashley Friedlein says, “Brand is the sum total of how someone perceives a particular organization.”
  • Seth Godin defines brand as “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

Oh joy. Easy peasy. Coming up with an author brand should be a snap.

A lot of the time, an author’s brand is connected to their genre. You think of Stephen King, you think horror. Nora Roberts, romance. George R.R. Martin, fantasy.

But what if you write in more than one genre? That’s trickier. You need a focus that spans genre.

Think of the projects you’re working on. Who are the people who will want to read your books?

I love books that have an art tie-in, like Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. The artwork pulls me in.

My still-unfinished mystical fantasy, The Unicornologist, has a tie-in to the Unicorn Tapestries in The Met Cloisters in New York City. They captured my imagination when I was in high school and haven’t let go. I was born to write a unicorn book; it will be my magnum opus.

Not everything I’m working on has an obvious art tie-in, but the main character in my mystery is a piano teacher. It wouldn’t be hard to weave a little bit of creativity and art into any storyline.

When I started my blog, I wanted it to reflect my brand. That’s why ARHtistic License focuses on the arts and the creative process. Also, I knew I’d be able to generate content along those lines, since art and music and crafts and creativity are my greatest interests. I want to build a following among all kinds of art lovers—musicians, puppeteers, dancers, doodlers, quilters, crocheters, freelance writers. They’re my peeps. My blog is a tool to help me connect with other people like me.

By the way, did you ever wonder about the weird spelling of my blog name? Do you think I did that by accident?

When I applied for my domain, was already taken. I was heartbroken. I loved that name. Then I thought about how I could modify it, make it mine with a minor tweak. My maiden name is Rannertshauser, and I use R as my middle initial. Sometimes I write my name as ARHuelsenbeck, especially when I’m submitting a piece of writing. So I came up with ARHtistic License as the name for my blog. (I could have used ARHuelsenbeck, Author, but I don’t have a book in print yet, so it felt like cheating.)

Now it’s your turn. Do you have a writing brand (or a brand for your artwork or your music or creative endeavor)? What is it, and how are you building it? Share in the comments below.

[1] Thank you to Heidi Cohen for collecting these and many more definitions of brand.

Monday Morning Wisdom #340

Monday Morning Wisdom #340

I think a lot of white people understand racism in theory, but when it comes to how that stuff plays out in their interpersonal relationships, it kind of stops there. The thing I’m always going to advocate for more than anything is white people talking to their white people about the things they do and say. At the end of the day, people of color don’t really need more help. What we need is for white people to do the work within their community.

~ Rachel Olzer, quoted in “Joy and Danger in the Twin Cities,” Sierra Magazine, Fall 2021

From the Creator’s Heart #337

Isaiah 40:5